Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Creamy ranch chicken

Are you seeing the trend of comfort food? Yeah, that's how it's been around here.
Healthy, not especially...but lately I've just been about what tastes good. What my family will eat. What makes me happy when I cook it.

Creamy Ranch Chicken

1 package (generally 3-4) boneless skinless chicken breasts
2-3 tablespoons ranch powder
1 stick of butter
1 block cream cheese-softened
1 can cream of mushroom soup
milk, if needed

I've done this in both the crockpot and the oven...so you pick which one you'd like to do. But it basically goes the same.
Crockpot-put chicken, butter, and ranch powder-cool high 4-5 hours or until chicken is cooked through.
Oven-same as above, oven on 350, probably 1-2 hours (or less, I have a phobia about undercooked chicken and I tend to overdo it probably)
Once the chicken is done, take the cooking liquid and mix it with the cream cheese, and soup-if it feels to thick for you add a splash of milk.
Add creamy mixture back to chicken-I generally cut the chicken up a bit, more bit sized pieces.
I serve it over mashed potatoes. I'm sure it would be good with rice as well!

Linguine Carbonara

Please forgive me for the low quality of this picture...I realized as I was shoveling this down my gullet that if I didn't take a picture, there wouldn't BE a picture. So I snapped, then resumed shoveling.
My appetite has been 'meh' lately. Nothing sounds good. Nothing tastes really good. Even my favorite restaurant failed to whelm the last time I went. So when the husband said he wanted Carbonara, I wasn't in a rush to make it.
Then I did. It was like a giant hug on a plate, it was the most comforting pile on a styrofoam plate that there has ever been. It was amazing.

Linguine Carbonara (adapted from Anne Burrell)

1 box of linguine-cook in heavily salted water
1lb of thick sliced bacon, cut into approx 1 inch pieces
3/4 cup grated parm
4 eggs-room temperature.
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Boil your pasta until it's almost done. Al dente is what they call it. I call it-take a piece out, bite it and if it still feels a tiny bit not done it's where you want it.
In a big sauce pan cook your bacon, and as it gets done, pull it out so it doesn't burn.
In a big bowl mix together your parm, eggs, and pepper. You want it to look very mixed..so no random darker bits of errant yolk. It should be thickish, not quite as thick as pudding.
Leave the grease...no really. Leave it...now put the pasta in the grease, and pour your egg/cheese mix over it...toss, toss, toss, toss. What's happening is that your hot pasta and grease are slowing cooking the eggs-this is good. If it still looks really wet, DON"T turn the heat back on-just put a lid on it and give it a minute or so. Then...toss the bacon pieces back in. You don't want it to look like scrambled eggs, it will just look like a cream sauce when it's done.
Then inhale....try to remember to chew.

A little note on this...when I say parm..I don't mean the stuff in the green shaker bottle. You need the real deal for this. So either buy it pre-grated (I know at our grocery it's by the bleu cheese/cream cheese)-or buy a hunk and grate it yourself.

Sour Cream Butter Biscuits

3 ingredients. That's it. Just 3. 3 little things, mixed in a bowl and then put in the oven..TOTAL game changers.
These little beauts show up on our table at least once a week, and there are rarely any left over.

Sour Cream Butter Biscuits (from Paula Deen)
2 cups self rising flour
1 cup butter-softened or melted
1 cup sour cream

Mix together all ingredients. Think to yourself "there is no way this bowl of paste can be biscuits". Grease a mini muffin tin and drop scant tablespoons full of 'paste' into the tin, then put the tin in a 400 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes-you want them nice and golden.
Remove and let cool-briefly.
Pop one in your mouth and be amazed at the complexity of those 3 little ingredients.

Try not to eat them all!!